Chocolate and Toffee Bits Cookies

I struggled with the title for this one. Toffee Bit? Toffee Bits Cookies? It just didn't roll off the tongue. I don't know. If you come up with something else, something even witty maybe, do let me know.

Alright, to get some perspective, I asked Dave, "If you could only have one kind of cookie ever again, would it be the toffee ones or peanut butter?" He looked at me, and said, "I have no idea! That's like asking you to choose what one flavor of water for the rest of your life!" LOL So he likes 'em. And he really likes pb, too.

I like them well enough. Oh! Make sure you leave at least an inch or so between each cookie, because they do spread as they 'relax' out of the oven.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
3½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1-1/3 cups (12 oz. pkg.) Hershey's Heath Toffee Bits and Chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease cookie sheets (or use parchment paper)

Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, and sat until blended. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Stir together flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar; gradually add into butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in brickle. Drop by heaping teasponful onto prepared sheets.

Bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly before removing to wire rack.

Makes 6-7 dozen

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I know what you're thinking. "Pumpkin? Peanut butter? What are you thinking?" But, I swear, I haven't completely gone off the deep end. Not yet, at least. ;)

The flavors actually really compliment each other. It's a very home-y taste, a comforting taste. And while they might not be the most visually-appealing (they don't change shape much), they're usually the ones people like the most. I'm not sure if it's because of the pumpkin or the pb. Either way, I like it when people compliment my stuff. :)

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) peanut butter morsels

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease baking sheets.

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

Beat butter and sugar in large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen.

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

I really like these. First, the flavor. Whoever put chocolate and mint together needs to be sainted. Second, the color contrast. I used the Mint Swirl morsels from Nestle, and they just compliment the chocolate cookie color so well. They make me happy just looking at them. :)

And, oddly enough, I found a picture that I took last year...

2¼ cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz. package chocolate/mint swirled morsels

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add dry ingredients. Stir in swirled morsels. Drop by teaspoonful onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake at 350F for 9-11 minutes. Cool on sheets for 2 minutes, before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 5-6 dozen.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again. But this time, I made a plan, to an extent. Three years ago, I did over 300 cookies in two days. Never again. LOL This year I'm also doing more brownies, since I eat less dough that way. ;)

My three choices this year are the crowd-pleasers. Chocolate Mint Chip, Pumpkin Peanut Butter Chip, and Toffee Bits. In fact, Dave has been at me for an hour now, as to whether he'd get any of the toffee ones. LOL

So I've 180+ cookies right now. Did the mint ones yesterday, and the last two today. I wasn't going to do both, as I've been in pain tonight, but the butter was already softened, so.. *shrug* But the last sheet just came out and now I can settle in with my heating pad.

No pictures this time, as I'm feeling rather lazy tonight. But just imagine a chocolate cookie, a pumpkin cookie, and a regular-dough-colored cookie, in six different plastic containers, and you have an idea of what our (one and only) table looks like. :D

I think to make it easier for future reference, I'll split the cookies into their own individual postings.


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

I wasn't sure what to make this week. Finally I decided on these cupcakes, originally found over on Tartelette, since last week's cupcakes weren't quite up to par. I only did a half-batch, though, just in case, but I'll post the original recipe.

I tried the cupcake naked at first and, boy, was I pleased. Soft, moist, and pumpkin-y. Then came the frosting. I had never had mascarpone before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. A slightly more... demure cream cheese. Doesn't have the same kick as the regular cream cheese, and was much smoother. Put the two together (cupcake and frosting) and you have a winner. :)

2¼ cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine pumpkin, vanilla extract and milk in a separate bowl. Alternately add flour mixture and pumpkin mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Divide evenly among the cupcake liners.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

Mascarpone Frosting:
16 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
½ cup butter, at room temperature
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add more sugar, if needed, for desired consistancy.


Gingerbread Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

I've been so incredibly lazy and/or tired these days. I kept meaning to post this, since I made the cupcakes themselves on Friday. But I either ran out of time, forgot, had a bad headache, or forgot. Perhaps my brain is being eaten by trolls at night, and that can be my excuse? :)

So I found the recipe over at BakeSpace, and the combination was appealing. The batter tasted delicious, so I had high hopes. Sadly, the cakes themselves seem to be a bit on the dry side. And it's not just my tastebuds being off-kilter, others have agreed. So I'm not sure if I'd make that part again.

But the frosting! Oh, the frosting. I'd have a love affair with it, if it were possible. I'm so glad I have extra frosting. There are some brownies that need a frosting, and that will just be perfect. It tastes just like the pumpkin cheesecake. Yum.

Oh, and I only made a half batch, just in case. :)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. light, unsulfured molasses
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the molasses and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the cups about 2/3's full.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pans for about ten minute, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin puree until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the spices and vanilla extract,, mixing well. Gradually add the sugar and beat until desired consistency. Refrigerate for 1 hour, Remove from refrigerator 5-10 minutes before using. Spread on the tops of the completely cooled cupcakes.


Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

So it's December 1st already. How crazy is that? But I'm doing good this year. I'm about 95% done with my shopping, have all those things wrapped, have my 'to bake for' list complete, and only need a couple more cards. Oh, and then the whole decorating thing. But that's next weekend.

But for me the first is about something even greater. It means I can finally listen to Christmas music without being judged. :) I have always loved Christmas music and see no problem with listening to it in the middle of summer. Why not, right? But you get weird looks from people. Or, worse, get told to turn it down. Hmph.

So I'm here now, on the first, with the coolest weather the Bay Area's had since last winter (it hasn't even reached 60 today!), singing along to Christmas cd number three for the day. :)

Anyways, I made these yesterday. I've been quite exhausted lately and really didn't want to do anything that required that much thought or effort. Thus, these brownies.

I'm kinda iffy on them. They're very peanut butter-y, and it must not be a good time for me and the pb. But Dave loves 'em. Ate a whole row yesterday. LOL And I'm quite sure Johanna and Henelyne will love them, too. I'm always the oddball. LOL

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Mix together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

Beat butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chips. Spread batter into pan.

Bake at 325F for 35 to 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely. Cut into bars. About 36 brownies.